Orbcomm satellites are low Earth orbit communications satellites, operated by the United States satellite communications company Orbcomm As of Jan 2013, 45 such satellites have orbited Earth, with 44 still continuing to do so.
|Major contractors||OSC (X, CDS-1/2)
|Mission type||Technology Demonstration|
|Carrier rocket||Ariane 4 (X)
|Mass||22 kg (49 lb) (X)
14 kg (31 lb) (CDS-1/2)
80 kg (180 lb) (CDS-3)
Orbcomm-CDS (Concept or Capability Demonstration Satellites) are spacecraft which were launched to test equipment and communication techniques used by the other satellites. The first three CDS satellites, Orbcomm-X, CDS-1 and CDS-2, were launched before any operational satellites, in order to validate the systems to be used in the operational constellation.
Orbcomm-X, also known as Datacomm-X, was launched in 1991. It carried communications and GPS experiments. Initially, the spacecraft was reported healthy, but communication was lost after just one orbit.
CDS-3 was launched in 2008, along with the 5 Quick Launch satellites. It contained experiments for relaying signals from the United States Coast Guard Automatic Identification System through the satellite constellation. It was designated Orbcomm FM-29, having most of the communications payload from an unlaunched satellite. The avionics bus to that satellites later became TacSat-1.
|Mission duration||4 years|
|Apoapsis||720 kilometers (450 mi) (mostly)|
|Periapsis||720 kilometers (450 mi) (mostly)|
Orbcomm-1 satellites make up most of the current Orbcomm constellation. 36 were built, of which 35 were launched, and one more, Orbcomm FM-29, was rebuilt as TacSat-1 for the United States military.
|Mass||80 kilograms (180 lb)|
|Apoapsis||661 kilometers (411 mi)|
Orbcomm Quick Launch (QL) satellites are satellites which were intended to replenish the constellation. The first five such satellites were launched in 2008, with one more planned, but never launched. The satellites are based on the CDS-3 satellite, which was launched on the same rocket as the first five QL spacecraft. The sixth will be launched as a secondary payload to a Russian Government satellite, also on a Kosmos-3M. Orbcomm holds options for two further satellites. The satellites experienced a power system anomaly, and Orbcomm filed an insurance claim on the satellites for $50 million. Orbcomm reported in 2011 that the last remaining Quick Launch satellite had failed.
|Carrier rocket||Falcon 9 v1.1|
|Mission duration||>5 years|
|Mass||142 kilograms (313 lb)|
Orbcomm Generation 2 (OG2) satellites are intended to supplement and eventually replace the current first generation constellation. Eighteen satellites have been ordered, and are planned to be launched in three groups of six between 2010 and 2014. Orbcomm has options for a further thirty OG2 spacecraft. The satellites will be launched by SpaceX on the Falcon 9 launch system. Originally, the were to launch on the smaller Falcon 1e rocket.
The first of these satellites was launched on 7 October 2012 as secondary payload on a SpaceX Falcon 9 flight. The primary payload was for NASA to the ISS. On this launch the Falcon 9 had a failure in one of its nine first stage engines 79 seconds after liftoff from Cape Canaveral, Florida. This prevented the OG2 prototype satellite from being deployed into the proper orbit. The satellite functioned as planned during the short time it was in orbit. This allowed a subset of spacecraft systems to be flight-test validated. The orbit of the spacecraft was unable to be raised to a sustainable altitude due to contractual limitations put on SpaceX by the primary payload owner, NASA. Two days after its launch the OG2 prototype re-entered and burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Orbcomm is claiming the mission a total loss.
The ORBCOMM OG2 satellites are being manufactured by an industry team led by Sierra Nevada Corp and Argon ST, a Boeing subsidiary. A total of 18 ORBCOMM next-generation OG2 satellites were in production as of February 2013[update]. ORBCOMM OG2 satellites will provide enhanced ORBCOMM messaging capabilities, increased capacity, and automatic identification systems (AIS) service. ORBCOMM has reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch 18 satellites on its Falcon 9 rockets, for a cost of $42.6 million, by July 2014.
|Launch Date/Time (GMT)||Carrier Rocket||Launch Site||Satellite||Alternative
|01:46, 17 July 1991||Ariane 4 (40)||ELA-2, CSG||Orbcomm-X||Datacomm-X||Early loss of communication|
|14:30, 9 February 1993||Pegasus||NB-52B, KSC SLF||Orbcomm CDS-1||OXP||No longer operational|
|13:56, 25 April 1993||Pegasus||NB-52B, Edwards AFB||Orbcomm CDS-2||VSUME||No longer operational|
|13:48, 3 April 1995||Pegasus-H||L-1011, Vandenberg AFB||Orbcomm-F1||FM1||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-F2||FM2||No longer operational|
|19:11, 23 December 1997||Pegasus-XL/HAPS||L-1011, Wallops Island||Orbcomm-A1||FM5|
|13:20, 10 February 1998||Taurus||LC-576E, Vandenberg AFB||Orbcomm-G1||FM3||No longer operational|
|16:24, 2 August 1998||Pegasus-XL/HAPS||L-1011, Wallops Island||Orbcomm-B1||FM13|
|Orbcomm-B5||FM17||No longer operational|
|05:06, 23 September 1998||Pegasus-XL/HAPS||L-1011, Wallops Island||Orbcomm-C1||FM21|
|Orbcomm-C2||FM22||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-C4||FM24||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-C5||FM25||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-C6||FM26||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-C8||FM28||No longer operational|
|18:53, 4 December 1999||Pegasus-XL/HAPS||L-1011, Wallops Island||Orbcomm-D2||FM30|
|Orbcomm-D5||FM33||No longer operational|
|06:36, 19 June 2008||Kosmos-3M||Site 107, Kapustin Yar||Orbcomm CDS-3||FM29||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-QL1||FM37||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-QL2||FM38||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-QL3||FM39||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-QL4||FM40||No longer operational|
|Orbcomm-QL5||FM41||No longer operational|
|05:31, 12 October 2011||PSLV-CA||FLP, Satish Dhawan||VesselSat-1||FM42|
|03:17, 9 January 2012||Long March 4B||LC-9, Taiyuan||VesselSat-2||FM43|
|00:35, 8 October 2012||Falcon 9||SLC-40, Cape Canaveral||Orbcomm OG2-1||FM44||Launch partial failure, too low altitude, early burn-up|
- "Orbcomm-X". NASA. Retrieved 2013-02-01.
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- Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm 1 - 43". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm 37 - 41". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- Jai C.S., ORBCOMM Reaches Settlement on Satellite Insurance Claim December 28, 2009
- "ORBCOMM Inc. - FORM 8-K - January 31, 2011". Retrieved 2013-01-16.
- Krebs, Gunter. "Orbcomm (2nd gen.)". Gunter's Space Page. Retrieved 2008-10-19.
- "SpaceX Wins Orbcomm Contract to Launch 18 Satellite Constellation". Satellite Today. 2009-09-03. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Orbcomm Eagerly Awaits Launch of New Satellite on Next Falcon 9" (Press release). Space News. 25 May 2012. Retrieved 28 May 2012.
- Hartman, Dan (23 July 2012). "International Space Station Program Status". NASA. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
- Clark, Stephen (8 October 2012). "Orbcomm satellite in wrong orbit after Falcon 9 launch". Spaceflightnow. Retrieved 8 October 2012.
- de Selding, Peter B. (2012-10-11). "Orbcomm Craft Launched by Falcon 9 Falls out of Orbit". Space News. Retrieved 2012-10-12. "Orbcomm requested that SpaceX carry one of their small satellites (weighing a few hundred pounds, vs. Dragon at over 12,000 pounds)... The higher the orbit, the more test data [Orbcomm] can gather, so they requested that we attempt to restart and raise altitude. NASA agreed to allow that, but only on condition that there be substantial propellant reserves, since the orbit would be close to the space station. It is important to appreciate that Orbcomm understood from the beginning that the orbit-raising maneuver was tentative. They accepted that there was a high risk of their satellite remaining at the Dragon insertion orbit. SpaceX would not have agreed to fly their satellite otherwise, since this was not part of the core mission and there was a known, material risk of no altitude raise."
- Messier, Doug (December 27, 2012). "Orbcomm, SpaceX Reach New Launch Agreement on OG2 Satellite Launch". parabolicArc. Retrieved 1 February 2013.
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- "ORBCOMM satellites launched". Space Today. 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-10-19.